U.S. Youth National Teams

Pulisic hat-trick propels U.S. U-17s to Josip Katalinski International Tournament title

U17 MNT vs Brazil

Photo by John Dorton/ISIPhotos.com


U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams wasn’t kidding when he said that Christian Pulisic, Haji Wright, and Joe Gallardo were among the best players in the world in their age group.

The high-powered American trio proved too much for opposing teams as the U.S. U-17s took home the 2014 Josip Katalinski International Tournament title. The U.S. clinched the title on Sunday with a 4-1 victory against Bosnia and Herzegovina’s U-17s, with Pulisic recording a hat-trick after Wright’s opener.

Combined in the three-match tournament, Pulisic, Wright, and Gallardo scored a total of nine goals.

The U.S. began the tournament by thrashing Montenegro last Thursday, 5-0. Wright scored four goals in the rout and Gallardo added one of his own in between Wright’s first two and last two goals of the game. Both Pulisic and forward Pierre Da Silva recorded two assists each. Next up was a Sarejevo select squad, which saw midfielder Alejandro Zendejas earn the U-17s a 1-1 tie with a 71st minute equalizer.

Finally, on Sunday, Pulisic’s hat-trick behind Wright’s early opener lead the way as the U.S. finished on top in the tournament. All three matches were 80 minute games, per U.S. Soccer.

The tournament title is the U-17s third title in the last four months. The U.S. won the Nike International Friendlies in Florida last December and followed that up with the Aegean Cup title in Turkey last January.

In addition to the impressive goal-scoring, U.S. defender Andrew Arellano was named the tournament’s best defender.

Before returning home, the U-17s will face Croatia’s U-17s in a pair of international friendlies this week in Zagreb, Croatia. The first match takes place on Tuesday at Stadion Zapresic, while the second match on Thursday takes place at Dinamo Zagreb’s training center.


What do you think of this news? Proud of the U.S. U-17s? Impressed with their attacking ability? Think that the foreign-based players (Gallardo and Barbir) made the difference?

Share your thoughts below.

  • slowleftarm

    Impressive results but let’s hold off saying they’re among the best in the world based on a few goals against Bosnia, Montenegro and “Saravejo select.”


    • Daniel in Chapel Hill

      Agreed, but given the trio’s consistent dominance over the past few months, I’m willing to let the praise slide.


    • 2tone

      It’s not a just a few goals against Monetnegro and Bosnia. It’s goals against Brasil, Portugal, England, Turkey, France, Scotland, Norway, Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay etc…


      • Creige

        These guys won the title in Turkey beating France and Turkey along the way. In addition to literally whooping Brazil and England in the Nike invitational. They have dominated like no other youth team from any country that I’ve seen. It is truly incredible.


      • Morty


        Makes you wonder who reads the entire articles on this site and who has the attention span of a gnat, doesn’t it?

        Also makes you wonder who comes on here to simply wind others up (WUMs) instead of reading previous articles about the younger squads from our country.

        Some people are simply born miserable.

        Try this: “Congrats on another fantastic performance, boys!”

        That wasn’t so hard now, was it?

        Good god.


  • TomG

    Certainly beating Montenegro and Sarajevo is nothing special but Bosnia is a nice win and this team does nothing but win tournaments. I don’t recall many US youth teams to pull off runs like theyve had in the past few months. They’re a long way away from USMNT senior team but it’s nice to see.


    • Clyde Frog

      How do you know the Bosnia U-17s are any better than the Montenegro U-17s?


      • TomG

        Their Nat team is traditionally a good team which indicates their system is good. Is it possible Montenegro’s U17 is actually a golden generation and actually better than Bosnia? Sure, but unlikely. In general, better senior teams have better youth sides. Are you telling me that it’s not more impressive to beat Spain’s U17s than New Zealand’s?


      • Darwin

        So, where do you see the US team and our system? Are we somewhere between Brazil and Bosnia ? or, is this our golden generation?


  • John

    Does anyone know if Pulisic has ties to the Union academy? I know he is from Hershey and I would be disappointed if the Union aren’t doing everything in their power to eventually make him a homegrown player. Especially considering we lost out on Barbir.


    • Kmac014

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he went to Europe. Is believe I heard some rumors regarding him and some bigger clubs


  • Vic

    Now that most MLS teams have had teams starting with U12 for a number of years, maybe the effort is starting to pay offf. Hopefully its a sign of things to come.


  • Jesse.

    Best in the world at their position?
    As if that means anything.
    One if them will be lost to injuries, another one is as good as he’ll ever be and the other one will be lucky to be a MLS caliber player.


  • El Homer Simpson

    Good group playing together. Obviously a long ways from their peak, but good to see a group really thriving and in sync together, as it can really help the transition to the next level.


  • Mark

    Good to see a US team win a tournament. I have no idea if the competition was any good, but either way this team seems to have some talent.


  • Bill

    As a couple of the guys already mentioned, this trio, and the entire U17 team, has been getting results against EVERYBODY since they came together. So, they deserve notice. Of course, the argument that U17 success does not guarantee future success, is valid. But, they have kicked butt against all comers, and that is really all you can ask.


    • downintexas

      Agreed, just look at Mexico. However, it is good in general, as long as we keep this up through out the years. The US depth will keep getting better and better.


    • slowleftarm

      I think bottom line is that while this doesn’t mean these guys are going to be great pros, it’s better to win these tournaments than not to win them.


  • cpldaniel

    There are TWO Pulisics on the squad: William & Christian Pulisic.
    William is a goalkeeper from Virgina, and Christian is the goal-scorer from Pennsylvania. Not exactly a common last name. Does anyone know: are they related??


      • CplDaniel

        OMG, it took me so long to get that joke!!! Even funnier because I thought you were some dang foreigner with bad English doing a really stupid job at trolling. Derp ‘d’ derp — I have the biggest stupid smile on my face. I can’t believe it took me so long to realize the joke!!


  • orb

    anyone know of the correlation between winning the Josep Katalinksi International and the World Cup 8-12 years later?

    I bet it’s somewhere between 0 and 100%, which means, having never won the WC, the USMNT odds are now better!


  • TD

    I think we’ll see how legit these guys are in the 2015 U-17 World Cup and then the U-20 World Cup. The Nike International Friendlies Tournament was a good sign, but we will see what happens when they get on the biggest stage of youth tournaments, then I think we’ll know for sure.


  • Ryan

    No secret that this young team has been impressive. 2018 is already going to be a big change for us, so lets hope these youth guys continue to grow and develop and start cracking through the top squads in Europe.

    Or throw all that away and join the MLS since that seems to be the “IT” thing to do at the moment.


  • user222

    anyone knows about teenager Kai Koreniuk? A Florida native who also holds a Dutch passport.

    he’s a forward, he’s tearing it up in a lower Dutch league and has accepted a called up for Netherlands U-17… He has stated that the USSF has never contacted or invited him to the US youth teams.

    What’s up coach Williams?


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